These were started by Kate Reynolds, Shelly Subarin, Joan Hatfield and myself, with a grant from the school district. We put together a three-day program in the late spring, looking at the permaculture principles and breaking them down into activities for the kids. We made permaculture passports and the teachers each took a principle and developed an activity to go with it.
We ran this program for three years, and the teachers started connecting it across the curriculum. The video helps give the feel of the days, how much fun they were, and how much the kids were learning. Hopefully we can start doing these again with the current staff.
DO A TAD FOR THE PLANET
The idea is to build awareness around the need to plant more trees. Really it’s about building diverse ecosystems and it follows the same line of thinking as the farm. The first part of the initiative would be about planting trees on the Hidden Pond farm itself; this would help initiate the tree hay aspect of the farm, which is building vertical pasture.
Eventually I would like to make an educational video series. My plan would be to film the planting, talk about the plant, talk about the soil needs, talk about what it’s used for and how it relates to the system we are building. All you’d need to do would be to have the tree at your space, where you want it, and I’d dig the hole, I’d film it, we’d talk about the tree, why we’re putting that tree in, and we would end up with this great story of planting all sorts of trees all over Gabriola, for years.
If anyone has a tree they would like to donate for planting at Hidden Pond, or that they would like to plant on their own land, please get in touch! We will be acknowledging everyone who contributes.
All sorts of trees are good for fodder and compost, but in between them you can add deworming plants that goats or pigs of sheep would chomp on a little bit, say a mouthful of rosemary or oregano or wormwood, these things that would naturally help them to deworm. In other hedgerows, or as we say “fedges,” food hedges, we can plant berry bushes and fruit and nut trees to get vertical food production as well.
In addition to trees as crops, with the goal of keeping it ecologically diverse we’ll add native species which do well in this climate, and which offer habitat for birds, which helps to balance out our insect ecosystem. Trees also help to control wind and frost; the goal is to limit the amount of cold air that flows into the lower parts of the farm and to move it around and down and out. We probably wouldn’t plant a tree a day on the farm itself, at least not for extended periods, since every new tree needs a couple of gallons of water a week to help it get established and 35 or 40 trees is a lot to look after at one time, but the idea is to spread awareness of the need for more trees on Gabriola, and encourage planting and propagation so that eventually, collectively, we really are planting a tree a day.